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Key Capitol Hill Hearings

Series/Special. Speeches from policy makers and coverage from around the country. (Stereo)

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Us 23, Indiana 9, Washington 9, U.s. 8, Huntsman 7, Evan Bayh 4, Bayh 4, Yugoslavia 4, Texas 4, Curt 3, Nelson Mandela 3, John Huntsman 3, The F.b.i. 3, Bramble 3, Singapore 3, Africa 3, America 3, China 3, Luger 2, Dick Luger 2,
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  CSPAN    Key Capitol Hill Hearings    Series/Special. Speeches from policy makers  
   and coverage from around the country. (Stereo)  

    December 7, 2013
    4:00 - 6:01am EST  

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they sawed both in texas and minnesota. the texas parents being presented a chance to opt out of any research use and five million stored blood samples being incinerated without being used for research. the minnesota case is still pending. find out what your state's public health law is. they're probably not going to give you the results. the results will be just on these handful of diseases, depending on how old your children are, either five, six diseases or 30, 40 diseases, and almost certainly negative on all of them. but somebody did those tests. >> i would like to clarify one thing, though. the tests that were done, say in the 1970's or 1980's, were
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not genetic tests. no one was look at d.n.a. they were looking at other levels, so they were what would propering called a metabolic screening. >> although with proper respect, i think that's a quibble, in the sense of they weren't testing d.n.a., but we aren't testing it now. we're testing the proteins for most of the neonatal testing. it's still tests of proteins really, but it's a test that tells you something about the underlying d.n.a. > so a word, two things. the f.b.i. did not get ahold of any samples from texas, but the department of defense did for exactly what hank said, namely to look at the frequency of d.n.a., and because that was said to be forensic, the investigative reporter thought that it was going into a database. i emailed her and could not
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persuade her otherwise despite the fact it was very clear. >> i will accept the friendly amendment. >> but i want to raise an even broader issue of something we were talking about with the king case. i always come back to the same things. and namely, what's the difference between being arrested and not being arrested? a lot of people get arrested. it's estimated that, what is it, 20%, 30% of the population, more than that, is going to be rested. is there a real difference? i have written with my more provocative moments with some colleagues that maybe we ought to consider having at the stage the onatal testing done, genetic test for the code, not done by the police, uploaded to a database for use in the future. the law enforcement would never see all the genetic information that is truly private.
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we would have a national database and not worry about all the issues i mentioned. is it a scary idea? well, yes and no. >> i think it's -- >> i was right. your question was going take us the rest of the time >> the underlying concern, which is, wow, this seems like an intrusion on my privacy, on my child's privacy, who has access to it, is a question that exists not just in this context, but in every context right now with medical information. i sit on the president's commission for bioethics, where we just took up the question of whole genome sequencing and issued a report called private in progress, which looks at the broader privacy concerns that are arising from the study of genomic information. and what we heard repeatedly from experts across the field, and my own personal view is, trying to restrict access to
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our genomic information is a losing battle. it's so preff lent whifment leave my glass behind, you can pick it up, get my saliva. some states have restrictions against it, but it's patriot easible access. what we really need to do is start thinking about, why do we care? why are we worried about people having access to our genetic information? what are we so afraid of? and if there are legitimate things we're afraid of, if we're afraid of people discriminating against us, employer discrimination or healthcare discrimination or long-term disability care discrimination, if we think it's an offense to our dignity because it's tied one who we are as people and other people knowing information about us is really problematic to us, then we need to think about some use restrictions and some regulations around misuse of genetic information. but access restrictions, not just in this area, but probably in lots of area of information, are going to be very difficult to enforce, but it raises a very important question for us,
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which is, should we care about trying to keep our genetic information secret, all of our genomes are riddled with problems, and are we going to get to a place where we're not as concerned but we're trying to have a different conversation about concerns about discrimination based on our genetic code? >> i want to throw one other example in before we finally get to another question. there's another kind of information you get from d.n.a., and many some people, including me, have paid to get ancestral information. one thing you can learn pretty clearly from d.n.a. usually is relationships. in terms of where you came from, that's pretty iffy, but whether somebody is your genetic father, as well as the person who taught you how to throw a baseball and changed your diapers occasionally and so on, you can find that out rom genetic information. there was a famous case of a
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kid who had known that his father was a sperm donor, brilliant kid, who, at age 15, did some snooping, did some genetic genealogy, and ended up telephoning a guy and ended up saying, hi, i think you're my dad. the guy had been a sperm donor under a condition of anonymity. he didn't want to ever be known or contacted. without reaching any kind of confidentiality, one smart kid, using publicly available data, was able to trace that down. if we get whole genome sequencing, we may learn secrets we may not want to know. if two sibs are, in fact, half genetically similar, that says something about whether they actually genuinely shared the same genetic parents or not. so that's another area of privacy involving family relationships that i think we have to at least think about when we consider genetic privacy.
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>> when you made your presentation, up talked about the statistics with the number of different losi one which was one in 50 and another which was one in 70. based on the presumption that you could multiply them together, talked about there woulding one in 3,500, another individual would have those same two. that has within it the assumption there's no overlap. in that context, in light of the king case, there was a concern with regard to the codus system, completely controlled by the f.b.i. and government, and which is not made readily available for general research, that there's a bias within that system that isn't being disclosed or evaluated or made present, and i know that dr. kay wrote an article called, what is the f.b.i. afraid of? in that context, is there a need to make the codus system completely transparent now that every time somebody gets arrested, their mouth can be swabbed and this database created?
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>> there are actually two questions there. the first one regarding the , part of the ed evaluation that i had to present was of the reference population in which we made those estimates of one in 70, one in 50 and so forth. that reference population was not codus. in fact, i don't think codus existed back then. that was the state of utah reference population where we had about 200 persons of european ancestry, and in making that determination of independence, i had to testify about all of the procedures that were done to demonstrate independence in those data. and that's a matter of public record. -- all of nothing the procedure was completely open and disclosed.
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now, the second question was about codus. and my feeling, as a scientist, a database like that be identified and should be available to any bona fide researcher be evaluated in any way for its validity. there have been several working groups who have done these kinds of evaluations, but i think it should be -- i think it should be broadly open to the scientific community for evaluation. >> david, what did you conclude he f.b.i. was afraid of? >> the f.b.i.'s database support a very good database for genetic research. it contains many relatives. we don't know how many. when you try to test assumption that is way, you're going get mistakes. second, they raised an ethical issue along the lines we just heard about, even if you de-identify the database, will that be a problem?
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but if -- that strikes me as a nonargument, though, but i'm not going to whine. so that was their position. and basically, even talking to they ple from the f.b.i., sort of say the codus people run their thing, it's their toy, and they don't want nybody else to play with it. well, there have been lawsuits to that effect. the arizona database, local state database was provided as a result of that. and additional research did not show any major problems here. australia's database was given to a general tis to study, and he found basically good agreement with the assumptions that dr. jordy used in his calculations. it's not like there are no studies of this sort that have been done, but the largest in
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the world has not been studied in that way. -- yes? sn't studied >> thank you. there are many federal laws that prohibit, for example, discrimination on the basis of race. there are cases -- i do native american law that say that recently aren't 1920 that native americans are an inferior race. that follows other decisions that talk about other people being of inferior races. is there any genetic basis or any other scientific basis the to you that supports concept of race? >> other than men being the inferior race? >> i will speak to it with --
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race is more likely a social construct, but there are certainly ancestral andonetheants we can see in genomics, and we can see differences based on different ncestral patterns. it may be we're dividing people up by different we are damage and by different ancestries rather than by the construct of a person's skin. so locking at a person tells you far less about their ancestry than being able to look at their genomics heritage, their d.n.a., which is the maternal contribution and pattern over time, and ing able to see types that way through that kind of grouping. so there have been some interesting articles that different legal scholars have written to talk about, are we
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going to have a new kind of racial profiling or ethnic profiling based on genotype? we're not there yet, but it's certainly a question people are asking, which is, is it possible that certain inherited patterns, certain patterns, have an increased prevalence of low expression genotype? in which case we might end upstarting to say, well, sub type a or ue-31 or whatever that is is more likely to have criminal behavior, or this sub type is more likely to have higher i.q. predisposition. so that could happen. we're a far way off from that happening. it's unlikely since, as hank said, there's such a complex set of factors that go into the expression of behavioral traits, but certainly a possibility. it will just become much more precise than just by look at a person's skin.
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>> i think genetics has really helped us with this concept of race. most scientists, in my experience, don't really like the term or the concept of race because it's just too broad a classification. it's a blunt tool for a very, very complicated issue. when we look at a genome, what we often see with individuals is that some of their genome comes from africa, some comes from asia, some comes from europe. a lot of us are very interested and complicated mixtures, and that has important public health implications, because you may have a particular section of a chromosome that is usually found in european individuals, and it harbors a disease success he wantibility variant, typically seen in that population, but on another chromosome, you may have ancestry from, let's say, africa. because we are often
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complicated mixtures, genetics enlightens us and tells us that race is just too blunt a tool, too crude a tool to answer most of the important questions we face. >> and in the not very long run, we actually are all african within the last 80 to 100,000 years. all of our ancestors were in africa, maybe longer, depending on what you think about the neanderthals, and we are all literally cousins. some of us are 200th kvens, but recently one of my colleagues at stanford published a paper with some new information about the y chromosome. it looks like all men and all women's fathers shared -- have a y chromosome that had a common ancestor about 80,000 years ago, which is the same time we all got from a common mother the d.n.a. that comes only through the maternal line,
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somewhere around 80,000 to 120,000 years ago. there doesn't mean there were two people, one adam and one eve, but each of us is escended from the same person. and we are all cousins, and e're not very distant cousins. we are a new species and a closely related one, and i think that's the most important lesson genomics can tell us about race. your honor? >> this question is for professor novak, but it makes us through the panel. i know your time was short, and one of the points that you were making about the work in yugoslavia was the potential for some collaboration between what you do and then maybe what
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genetic identification can do, and could you take a meant and just elaborate on that? >> yeah, thank you. we all spoke about our sub disciplines and what we do, what i think is important to understand is that this work is collaborative. the work in the former yugoslavia that's ongoing now has benefited greatly by advances in genetics. lynn's been over to the lab and seen what they're doing. in many times we were working in the lab with general tises, so as we get these commingled remains, we'd help sort, we'd help match, because today it's not possible to test every little bit of bone. that's not reasonable. but in the initial sorts that we would do and then working with the geneticist to try to
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do a positive i.d., it's collaborative work. no one is the real superhero in these labs, even though they make it sound that way, that we come in and, you know, identify these individuals. along with that has been amazing work with databases, stripping identities, and working with the families. i think the former yugoslavia has been particularly challenging in that you would have all the men in a family and extended family had died, somewhere in the same gray, and so trying to get those matches from families that had moved to the united states, moved to other parts of the world, was icmp a heroic effort by and various human rights groups. i think what the former
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yugoslavia has taught us is how we can work carefully with law enforcement, still collect evidence, still collect the data needed for prosecution, but also how to work closely with human rights groups that their primary interest is in getting those individuals back to the families, and so those families can claim death and have some income, where they have none at all. >> i've been trying to run this railroad on time, and we're near the end that have time. i suspect there are more questions than there are people at the microphones, and more certainly than we have time to answer. my own email is available easily onlean. i'm sure all of my colleagues' academic emails are available online. i'd be happy to take follow-up questions either at lunch or via email subsequently, and i suspect i speak for all of us, and i'm sure i speak for all of us in thanking you for listening to us for the last 3 1/2 hours. [applause]
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[captioning performed by national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2013] >> a look at the u.s. capitol, the flag at half-staff in honor of former south african president nelson mandela, who died thursday at the age of 95. it's rare for the flag to be lowered in honorable on you of a foreign leader's death. npr notes the last time flags were lowered for a foreign dignitary was for pope john paul ii in 2005. on capitol hill friday, former secretary of state hillary clinton talked about nelson mandela. here's some of what she had to say. >> we neat on the day after the oss of a giant among us, someone who, by the power of his example, demonstrated
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unequivocally how each of us can choose how we will respond to those injustices and grievances, those sorrows and tragedies that afflict all of humankind. nelson mandela will be remembered for many things. he will be certainly remembered or the way he led, his dignity , his extraordinary understanding, not just of how to bring democracy and freedom to his beloved south africa, but how important it was that he first brought freedom to himself. as i spent time with him, starting in 1992 until just in he last year and a half, i was
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ways struck by the depth of his self-knowledge, of his awareness about how hard it is , of ve a life of integrity service, but to combine within ones self the contradictions that he lived with, a lawyer and a freedom fighter, a prisoner and a leader, a man of . ger and of forgiveness it's so captured the hearts of people not only in his own country, but as we are seeing with the outpouring of response to his death, people around the world.
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i only hope that as we both mourn and celebrate the passing this universally recognized and beloved figure that we emember he became that through n enormous amount of hard work on himself. the story has been told several times now and in the coverage i've watched of his passing about how he invited three of his prison guards to his inaugural festivities. i was there as a part of the american delegation for the inauguration, and i was there at the luncheon that was held back on the grounds of the president's house that had transitioned from the morning ere i had breakfast with
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president de klerk to where i had lunch with president mandela. and as he looked out at the large crowd gathered, filled with dignitaries from everywhere, including people who had been part of the struggle itself against apartheid and who had supported that struggle, he made the oint of thanking his jailors and pointing out of all of the distinguished v.i.p.'s who were there, he was most grateful that these men, with whom he of xchanged words recognition and acknowledgment of the other's humanity in the course that have long imprisonment could be there as well. >> secretary of state john kerr will i give the keynote address today at an event hosted by the brookings institute. the center started this forum
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in 2003. it included american and israeli leaders from government, business, and society. you can watch secretary kerry's remarks live at 4:00 p.m. astern here on c-span. >> next, former republican presidential candidate jon hntsman and former democratic senator i know bayh talked about bipartisanship in politics. they're from no labels, they work with members of from both parties to solve some of the nation's problems. this is from the national council of state legislatures' fall forum in washington, d.c. >> good afternoon.
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i serve as vice chair of the standing committee. as all of you know far too well, republicans and democrats on capitol hill have been unable to find common ground on a number of issues. just to name a few, the fiscal year 2014 budget, the farm ill, and immigration reform. reaching across the aisle has become more and more difficult, and this seems like a mountain too tall to climb. this morning, i have the honor of introducing two national leaders who can hopefully help shed some light on how our legislative colleagues in washington, d.c. and the white house might be able to come together and find solutions to our nation's critical problems. let me begin with governor huntsman. he began his public service as
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a staff assistant to ronald eagan. he has since served four u.s. presidents in critical roles, including u.s. ambassador to singapore, deputy assistant secretary of commerce for asia, u.s. trade ambassador and most recently, u.s. ambassador to china. twice elected as utah's governor, he brought about strong economic reforms, tripled the state's rainy day fund, and helped bring unemployment rates to historic lows. in his tenure, utah was named the best state in america and the best state in which to do business. he serves as co-chair of no labels with u.s. senator joe masden. it's working to bring about solutions to attract wide support in congress and begin rebuilding the america's people's trust in the federal
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government. also with us today, is senator evan bayh. senator evan bayh is a former two-term governor, served also as the secretary of state of indiana and served in the u.s. senate from 1999 to 2011. as governor of indiana, he enacted welfare reform, cut taxes, and brought about fiscal disciplines to state's budgets. in the u.s. senate, he was a leading voice, advocating for fiscal restraint, on government spending. he also worked in a bipartisan manner, something missing right now, to seek consensus on several key issues, including financial services reform and health care. our plenary session will begin with remarks from senator huntsman and senator bayh to be followed by what i'm sure will be a great conversation facilitated by ntsl vice
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president senator curt scramble from utah, the senator pro tem. however, before we go to the comments, we'd like to share comments on you, the co-chairman that has no labels and governor huntsman. >> this is senator joe manchen, it's my leasure to send greetings to all of you. i regret i cannot join you in person. i send my best wishes for an enjoyable and productive meeting. the strength of legislators rest in your bipartisan efforts and your commitment to serve democrats, republicans, and dependents. it's something that we recognize that we need to work together and put the american people and common sense solutions ahead of politics.
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as former legislator of the great state of virginia, i was shocked to arrive only to realize there was guilt by association in washington and guilt by conversation. as a democrat, i was frowned upon for even talking to colleagues with an r ahead of their name. that's why from the earliest days in congress, i became a member of the no labels which is truly one of the only organizations in washington where members of congress can have an open and honest conversation about how we can solve the many challenges our great nation faces today. with west virginiians and the american people deserve a government that works for them. they expect us to work together and move this country forward. they don't want democrat or republican solutions, they want american solutions. we should be thinking about the next generation and how we can help our children and our children's children succeed in an america that is stronger
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than ever. we should be working together on the ways we can make america an even better country. as you gather here today, i thank you for coming together with an agenda that centers around bipartisanship. i would like to thank your president, senator bruce starr, all of our west virginia leaders who made the trip to attend this conference. and my dear friends, john huntsman and evan bayh, truly leaders in bipartisanship with a focus of moving this great country forward. please enjoy this meeting and congratulations on the hard work you do every day. thank you and god bless you. [ applause ] >> governor -- governor huntsman, senator bayh and senator bramble. >> thank you very much. it's a -- it's a great honor and privilege to be with all of you here. i'm particularly honored to be with senator bramble who i had the great privilege of working with as governor of the state of utah.
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and i found early in my term that if you could somehow channel curt's intelligence and energy in a productive direction, there wasn't anything you couldn't get done. you could say we got a whole lot done. and to be with evan bayh, somebody who i've admired enormously over the years and i often said he probably thinks this is in jest, one of the reasons i got involved in public service was because of the model of pure public service that he provided while he was a very young governor of the state of indiana. well, listen, i'm going to take a moment to give you a couple of reflections on no labels and why i'm involved. and it was great to hear from joe manchen. joe and i were elected governors together, he a democrat, i, a republican. we used to call each other and share ideas on tax reform, on education reform. on getting things done. we love the environment on you can actually achieve
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results. that's the great thing of being a governor. i look at so many of the members of the utah state legislature who are here. and with each one of them, i can tell you stories about how we were able to get things done and the can-do attitude. it was remarkable. joe then went on to the senate and became terribly frustrated with the culture that existed on capitol hill, something that evan knows a lot about. i went on to china to become our senior diplomat running the embassy there. and we kind of regrouped a little bit later when joe and nancy jacobson, who was the power behind no labels initially came and said would you like to become part of the o labels movement. what on earth is no labels? is it a third party effort to kind of ship wreck the republicans and the democrats. is it a bunch of mushy moderates to get together to take over the world? none of the above. come to find that it is a group that respects the fact that we have a two-party system. they are endeavoring to change
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the center of gravity away from acrimony from the problem solving. it's a lofty objective, can it be done? for those of you who have been around politics for a while, many of you have, of course you can change the operating culture of politics. that in a nutshell is what no labels is endeavoring to do. our goal is to change the operating environment of politics here in washington and certainly among the state capitols because we know many of you have some of the same problems of grid lock. and sort of the blame game and extreme partisanship that we have here in washington. our objective is to change the operating environment of politics -- lofty and aspirational, no question about it. critical for this country. absolutely. so why is it that i'm involved
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beyond thinking that's a pretty good objective, and doable, i might add. and second, i would also lived abroad four times. i lived in those countries that would be considered our -- our greatest competition in the 21st century. i lived in taiwan, i lived in singapore, i live in china. my kids have gone to their schools. i used to serve on the economic development board of singapore, perhaps the most competitive nation in the world today. i've seen what they're doing to prepare for the 21st century. and i say we sit here in the greatest nation on earth. we have all of the assets in our disposal. we have so many things going for uh us. for the dysfunction of politics, with ear ready to grow, we're ready to get on in the next chapter in this country. but for whatever reason, politics is holding us back. our inability to problem solve, our inability to plan solutions and get the work of the american people done. i don't care if you're a republican or democrat, there are some issue that are so transcendent and important to the people of this nation, we have to identify what they are and get on with it. it isn't about ideology. everyone in this room shares a different approach to the issues. we all have our own ideology.
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it's about extreme partisanship which is made for problem solving to be practically impossible for this country today. so we're setting out on a fairly ambitious and bold agenda to try to change that operating culture. we know we're going to have to have a few things present in order for it to be considered a success. one, we have to prove the concept which when he ear doing by the group of problem solvers that we put together on capitol hill. you can imagine, you know, we started beginning of the year with nobody as part of the problem solvers's caucus on capitol hill. now we have 90. some from the senate, sfrom that. that have ear meeting every week. and they're putting forward some sifrping pieces of legislation to prove the point that the republicans and democrats can build for us and get some work done. you can imagine what they're going to be able to do by this time next year. that's step number one. step number two i think there's great relevance for state and
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local leaders as well, in terms of shifting the overall focus to problem solving. third, i suspect over a short period of time a large grassroots network of people who are looking for problem solvers in their elected officials, probably a million people in every congressional district in this country is what we want to have in the next several months. i think we're a good part of the way there. so if you think of no labels, i want you to think of problem solving. i want you to think of a group that's also proving the concept. it isn't just catchy phrases and nice sound bites, but we're moving the needle and we're just getting it going. and i'm excited about where this is leading to, because we have no choice in this nation. we have no choice. the elections ahead will have to be about problem solving. it will be about getting taxes right, debt right, education right, getting the foundational building blocks of this nation in a place where we can actually get our house in
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order. that's what it so desperately needed right now. so we're delighted to be here. we thank you for listening here. and, curt, thank you for what you're doing to chair this segment. floez be with you. >> thank you, governor. senator bayh. >> thank you, senator bramble. i would like to thank our introduction for the eulogy he provided governor huntsman and myself. not often am i introduced just the way i wrote it. i'm grateful for all of the things he was kind enough to repeat. a pleasure to be with my friend and colleague, governor huntsman. i admire john huntsman. a mutual admiration thing going here. successful governor. could have done any number of things with his life, coming from the family that he came
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from. he decided to devote himself to public service. and in particular, it's sometimes hard to answer the call when the other political party reaches out. there's a price to be paid to your own group. when the current president is served as ambassador to our country, the most important bilateral relationship we have in the world today, john huntsman didn't make a political calculation of some kind, he said i'll serve my country and figure out the politics later on. i'm proud to be with you and particularly work with john and no labels to try and solve what may be the biggest challenge that we face. people sometimes say what are we going to do about the budget? what are we going to do about health care, education, all of the other things? my response is we're not going to get to any of that until we can first deal with the political dysfunction. so that's what we're attempting to do. it may seem like a little bit like a fish pushing a bolder up
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the hill. but we've got to try. is this mic okay? it's usually the mics that you don't see that get you in trouble in washington. [ applause ] >> so to our friends at the nsa, we say hello, we think ou're doing a great job. in any event, the senators are famous for speaking at great lengths. i won't do that to you today. but let me just say that i have a great deal of admiration for state legislators. i developed that in my own right when i became governor. is senator long still here? senator -- i see pat. pat, raise your hand. senator miller and senator wong was here. i guess he had to step out. but in any event, i was elected governor at the ripe old age of 32. my birthday was in september i matured. i took office when i was 33. i did not serve in the state legislature. i had served as secretary of state. i'd been involved politically.
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but i had a chance to get to know the members of the senate and the house the way i would like to and i did over the next eight years. and i realized pretty quickly, john, probably the same way in utah, we have a saying in indiana that governor proposes, state legislature, isposes. so i realized we needed to try to find common ground. and i had to challenge right away in my eight years, my last two years, the republican party had a majority in the house, the republican party had a majority all eight years of the tate senate. the last two years, the republicans had a majority. the middle four years, the democratic party had a majority. my first two years, and here's why i mentioned this as pat would recall, our state house of representatives was split 50-50. well, there's no constitutional mechanism for breaking the
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tie. and i was then sitting secretary of state, i hasn't resigned to become governor yet. the secretary of state, one of the responsibilities is to preside over the organization of the house until they elect the speaker. which they were incapable of doing. and and so this went on and on. one point, the gentleman, we don't know who he was. an individual came to see me. he said, governor, i want you to know this, i want you to gavel me in as speaker. i said, okay. i said, well, i don't think so. i knew that would forever poison my relationship with the republicans in the state legislature. so long story short, the reason i tell the tale is that the end, the compromise was reached. and we had two speakers. they alternated days. we called them stereospeakers. and the committee had two chairman. they alternated days. well, in the beginning of this thing, everybody thought it was going to be disaster. how is this going to work? nothing is getting done.
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constant fighting and acrimony and so forth. today if you visit the house of representatives' chamber, there's a plaque on the wall commemorating the historic -- the word it uses -- the historic evenly divided session of the state general assembly. because neither side was able to impose its will, it dawned on them both that they had to pour some kind of consensus if anything was going to get done. eventually, that's what ended up happening. and we need more of that in washington dc today. final thing i would say. by the way, one other thing -- john, you'll appreciate this. one other thing if you see in the indiana house, you see the speaker there and they had every picture of every legislative team. so respect for state legislators runs in the family. my father had the privilege of being elected speaker of our
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house at the ripe old age of 30. the reason for that is in 1956 in the eisenhower landslide, the house in indiana was like 75 republicans and 25 democrats, nobody cared to be minority leader. it didn't matter. he said i'll do it. he was elected minority leader for a variety of reasons. two years later, the young man was elected speaker of the house of representatives. the reason i tell that tale, a sa picture from that year, pat will know what i'm talking about. they're sitting through in their blue shirts. my dad was a farmer. i was born in the farm. he has on the black wing tipped shoes, white sox. take the boy off of the farm, can't take the farm out of the boy. in any event, i think -- and i'm going to conclude by saying this, what this town needs this, is what no labels is working to promote. if you're interested, i think next june, next year we'll have a gathering of state legislators, both parties, house and senate, to try to build on the progress we've made here in washington. try to find a way to work together. we're not going to agree on everything. there are differences of opinion. we can't afford to do nothing
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in the face of a rapidly changing world as our problems continue to compound. so the two things i end up by saying, i'm reminded of something the civil rights leader when he said we may have arrived on these shores in different ships, but we're all in the same boat now. hat's going on in this town is that too often, the two political parties, you think they're from different countries. they view the other side as the enemy, not the fell blow citizens with whom they occasionally disagree. but in the long run, they have the sate fate, interests in common. we have to reconcile our differences, not accentuate them. but we forget we come from a common country and common heritage and for sure a common destiny. final thing i say, this is something that no labels is working to overcome. in this city today, what all of
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you have to do every section is forge principle compromise, the word compromise, back in the dale, my father's time, that was an act of statesmanship. today it's a act of betrayal. if you don't work with your party 100% of the time, you're ostracized, there's something wrong with you. you can see this on cable tv and a variety of other things. i'll finish by recounting words that lyndon johnson, a master legislator, said once. he grew up poor in the hill country in texas. and his family couldn't always take for granted that they were going to have enough to keep the roof over their head or keep food on the table. o this is the thought i'll leave you with. jobson once said any man not willing to compromise, well, that man never went to bed hungry. he said, you know, he said any man who is not willing to settle for half a loaf, well, that man never went to bed hungry. that's exactly right. the american people expect us to be problem solvers and practical solution providers,
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not happen right now. we're too intent on taking an all or nothing approach which leads to nothing. having said all of that, i'm pleased to be with you here. and senator, i'll turn it over o you. >> to all of you, if you have a question, stand up -- i don't know where the mics are. we have the mics. so let's begin. if you have a question, stand up, we'll go to you. no, ma'am elected officials might feel giving up their labels might help respond to the party identity. how do you feel about that criticism. >> curt, i've been waiting a long time to have you call me distinguished. have someone catch that on ape.
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>> the enemies are distinguished. so that was the affections -- >> listen, governor huntsman, during his tenure, we had a challenge with transportation and with his leadership, the largest construction project in the state's history was agreed upon and moved forward on. and it was republicans, democrats, there had to be additional revenue, revenue enhancements. they were not a tax increase, it was a fee increase. but we've been in the trenches together. it's a privilege to be up here -- >> we did oh can in immigration and tax reform too. >> i would have to say that the marketplace politically inevitably has to go toward problem solving. and no labels is going to do everything it can to create that culture of problem solving. no one else was doing it. folks look at no labels, they
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have to read a little bit of the background and see what we stand for, in a real sense, all of you have an opportunity to be part history. we're just getting going. there's nothing like this no labels movement. something has to change the operating environment politically in this country, period. and i -- i think that now that we have blown up the system, we have a pretty good job sending people back here to blow up the system. i suspect that most americans are saying now we have to put it back together again. we just have to get the basics done. we have to have a bucket as opposed to just continuing resolutions to keep the most important economy in the world going. you got to have immigration reform. you have to have a competitive
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tax code. you have to do something about debt and education. this is all about problem solving. so no labels being at the sweet spot of where i think where the american people are and where they will be in the next couple of election cycles will therefore be in a place where most elected officials are going to want to be, not because it's the right thing politically, but because it's the right thing for this country. >> senator, you served in the senate for over a decade. how did things change when you were serving and how useful would a group like no labels have been early in the career or if they changed towards the end of the career in the senate? >> that's a good question. the senate has changed dramatically in the last 13 or 14 years. it's changed. it's just a completely different universe since my father's time. i'll tell you a story. it was 1968, my father was running for the first re-election. democrat in indiana. the republican leader at that time was illinois, came up to my father on the senate and said, look, i know you're
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running for re-election. i hope you'll tell me what i can do to help. that would never happen today. but back then, that generation, they've been through the great depression. and many of them had served in the military in the second world war, you know you're in a fox hole, you don't care so much for the person next to you, the republican or democrat, you know, watch your back. then the struggle with global communism followed that. so people of that generation knew there was greater challenge to the welfare of the country than members of the political party or someone who had a ideological thing. it's changed -- it's -- it's the different places since my time. there used to be things -- the leaders of the two caucuses used to not campaign against each other, raised money against each other. that's common place. you can imagine how you feel when you find the person that's supposed to be working with us out to do you in. and they're just did the personal connections. a group like real labels could
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play a real role. this might come as a surprise. the united states senate, every tuesday, every tuesday there's a caucus lunch. republicans caucus in one room and have lunch. democrats caucus in another room and have lunch. every thursday, the policy committee ohsf the two caucuses meet. same thing, democrats there, republicans there. never, not once, literally not once, the republicans and democrats meet together to discuss substantive issues. doesn't happen. it's that way on purpose. because the leaders of the two conferences think if there's supposed to be this dialogue going, they'll lose control. and they can't direct the course of legislation the way they would like. so with no labels in play is to provide that neutral meeting ground. here john is saying, you don't
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ave to stop being a republican or a democrat, but you have to start being americans. we don't have to agree on everything. but it doesn't mean we can't agree on something, which is where the system is right now. and so it kind of -- those muscles are working together and have atrophied. and the rule no labels have played is as i said provide that forum where people can start talking to one another and i think you can be surprised if you can make that happen. there's more that we have in common than we do that divides us, the process right now is accentuating divisions and that's why no labels is working to overcome that. >> thank you. governor huntsman, on that same note, if congressional leaders, if their agenda is to foster the polarization, would they be threatened by no labels? and how does the organization get past that status quo? >> i think you're right, curt. they will be threatened to some extent by no labels. but guess what? that threat will transform into a desire to work collaborateively once you reach critical mass, which is exactly what we're doing on capitol hill. we have 10, 20, 30 members of the problem solver's caucus in
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a few short months. no one was paying attention. they were writing paperings, should we take the effort seriously, what is it about? we're at 90. we have a list of the people who want to be part of the problem solvers. this is something i've never seen before, folks, in my political life. it's moving and as it moves, as it continues to meet and put forward pieces of legislation that increasingly are meaningful to the american people, that's when leadership will continue to take note. there's a viable group here. they're focused on solutions. they're checking their anger at the door. they're thinking in terms of the next generation, no it the next election cycle, willing to
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put their country before the political party. something interesting is happening here. so we've gone from a clinical trial to almost a finished product. and i think going to the next year, we will likely get real resonance with leadership on capitol hill. why? because we will have reached critical mass. that's where we're going. you have to prove the point. you have to have critical mass in order to move the market. that's where we're going to be next year. >> this is for both of you gentlemen. with cable news, if it's on the left or the right, there's a dialogue that seems to perpetuate this polarization. what do you say to an elected official when they ask you to compromise when that elected official has to go back and face the constituency in senator luger in utah, senator bennett. what do you say to the elected fficial. how do you convince that elected official that forging the compromises is not going to cost them the next election because of the polarization and the perpetration of that by the both the left and the right. >> well, that's an excellent
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question. for those of you who aren't familiar with my state's politics the senator mentioned, richard luger served for 36 years in the united states senate from indiana, i think luger was so popular that after his last election seven years ago, the answer is -- my party, we don't run anybody against them. >> a waste of time, money, threat's focus on something else. he was unopposed. he went from being unopposed to six weeks later losing his own party's primary by 20%. so you know, wasn't as if dick luger decided to leave the team and become a democrat, all of a sudden become a liberal. some of this happens to my party too. but it's more manifest right now. indiana is the example he didn't vote for the affordable care act or obama care or dodd frank regular latering the banks and so forth and so on, it was other stuff. but the point was -- this is the data point. and this is what has many people -- the gerrymander has
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split the house. you have people on the far right, the far left. the president -- the districts are drawn. all republican, all democrat. in the senate, it's two things. the fact that no one votes the primaries, which is the point i'm about to make, and the role of big money. you asked me what changed? there was a case decided by the supreme court that now allows unlimited amounts of money to be donated to flow into the campaign. so what happened to dick luger. first -- this was not a secret election. there's millions of dollars on advertising. i knew there was a big election. everybody knew the election was coming up. the voter turnout on the primary, 18%. one in five eligible republican voters. the same thing for democratic primaries. who are the 8%? the most partisan, the most ideological, people are mad
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about something. if we can get the voter turnout up to 40% primaries, you could have a little bit different result. but right now, the voter turnout is very low. the second thing is $5 million, $6 million flooded in from some of the out of the state organizations which now enforced party orthodoxies. if you benefit, you have millions of dollars of negative ads running against you. my message would be the following -- it said, look, you may run the risk if you do what you think is right and you vote for something that you think is practical, you do run a risk of losing your party's primary. that's true. if you don't, with job approval at 9%. both parties and approval ratings way low, you're going to run a real risk of losing a general election. as long as you're going to be there, you may as well run the risk of getting something done and then deal with the
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politics. that's ultimately where we're going to end up, people care more about results than they do longevity in office. i think we may be in for a series of anti-incumbent elections that will refocus incumbents' minds on the fact if you're risk averse to avoid primaries, you're going make it the end of the day anyway. so do the right thing. you're going to have to run a political risk regardless. at the end oh it was day, isn't that why you're there. >> in 1980. and he's gone on. he's okay. there are worse things that can happen than losing an election. >> speaking the truth on the campaign trail, evan? it may struggle from time to time, but you can live with yourself later on. it's a real world example beyond that which evan as
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eloquently shared with you. a real world example of what we're talking about. that would be curt bramble. i'm not here to pander. i don't have to ask for your favors here, curt. but if you look at what you did on immigration reform and on energy, just to mention a couple, and your election returns, you would have to say in a you're probably a textbook example of what happens when you get out the do the right thing. you're actually able to get things done in the end and have a legacy to look to. it's more than just rhetoric and textbook theory. some have put it in practice and you should be proud of what you've done and i know curt's put it in practice. i didn't mean to embarrass you but i wanted to put that out there as a real world example. >> we just have a couple minutes left. are there any members of the audience who would